Springtime of the mind

I’m working tomorrow, and for the next 2-3 weeks after that. It’s not my dream job, but it’s come at a good time. It means I can likely pay next month’s rent.

I’m very cautious about reading too much into my situation. Not much has happened yet, and nothing may happen. Still, something has roused in me.

It’s been a tough time these last few years. An incredibly tough time. I lost my mother, I lost work, and all of my money. I’ve been technically homeless. At the same time the country I’m so passionate about was trashed by a deplorable government, and my football team, on and off the field, has been a basket case. There’s been no real solace, and no comfort but for the unwavering affection of Rigby, and the loyalty of my dearest friends. I’ve survived. It seems quite a feat now, and when I look back it seems truly awful. How did I manage? But I did, and though there were times that hope fluctuated in me I never really lost it. It’s such an important thing.

Hope, and self-belief. It would be very easy to lose self-respect, and with that, self-belief, in the storm I’ve endured. There were times it dipped. I can recall a period that it became so frail that I questioned everything, and could barely rouse myself from bed in the morning, or the couch through the day. The surprising thing is that you get through it. It seems an almost necessary part of the process. Survive it and you’ve been forged in fire. I survived it.

Somewhere along the line my confidence in myself, in the possibility of a future, returned. For me an important part of that was the mind. I’m such a rational man. It’s easy to be caught up and plummet in a downward spiral as these things go from bad to worse, but ultimately that didn’t make sense to me. I was able to separate the person I am from the circumstances I’m in. I knew, despite my market value plummeting, that I was no less able than before. I’d become no less smart. I still had drive. If anything I felt myself better for the experience. It counts for little seemingly these days, but I can tell you that you learn a lot when you’re down and out. I was already a worldly man, but in all the pleasant ways; I’ve learned the ways of the world from the other side now. I think I’m a more complete man now than ever before, for what it counts.

So, if I still had hope, if I retained self belief, if the tools I had before were still there then all I needed (besides simply survive) was something to do. That’s been the hard part.

I’ve survived to this point by the skin of my teeth. It’s taken huge amounts of energy and emotional resources. There’s been very necessary sacrifices for the pragmatic good. There’s a point beyond that though where you crave being engaged again: intellectually and emotionally engaged, and once more productive, worthwhile, contributing. I think I’m someone who needs that a lot. I’ve been so lucky with the gifts I’ve been blessed with, but I need to use them to be fulfilled.

I sense that time is not far away. I could be completely wrong, but with Spring I feel myself become slowly re-vitalised. I’m writing, and writing well (and with belief), and that makes a difference. I’m applying for jobs like I did before, but with hope now that I didn’t have then. It could be a mirage of course, and harsh reality may return – but for now I savour the feeling. And in small ways I find myself respected for my abilities.

I went for drinks last week with an acquaintance I see every 6-9 months. I’ve written about him before. He’s a smart guy, ambitious, but without any real authority. When we get together I always seem to fill the role of the go-ahead ideas man. He has issues, and if not solutions then I give him ideas at least to go on with. He seems always to leave with a light in his eye.

I saw him last about 4 months ago when I gave him an idea he’s been hanging onto ever since. He’s since developed some plans, and the other night spontaneously asked for my assistance with them. I’ll help I’m sure, and have already given him something more to work with. Whether something more develops out of it is no small thing, but what’s really important to me is the principle. Here is someone who sees value in me. It’s a perspective that validates my own. If he can see value in me, then who else?

Hopefully there’s the prospect of much more. In the meantime it’s great fun feeling my brain crank over again like it’s meant to. I’m good at ideas. I’m good at thinking. I’m good at a lot other things too, and perhaps I’ll get the chance to show that again, and again, and again… Somehow, for now, there feels that possibility. It’s a great challenge and it excites me. There has to be a way forward.

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